One of the most important things you can do to help yourself in raising your credit score is contacting at least one of the credit bureaus and requesting a free credit report.
These bureaus may differ from country to country, but in the US, they are: Experian, Transunion and Equifax. Experian has global sites as well, so it’s like the other two do as well.
So how do you go about contacting any one of them about a free report?
1) Go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com
2) You can make a phone request by calling 1-877-FACTACT
3) You can complete the mail-in request form and send to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
The instructions for ordering are the same: you will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number and something that you know would be on the report, such as a mortgage payment.]
Keep in mind that this does not include your actual score. Your score can be obtained, however, via an additional paid service. This paid service is worth it, however, because you get to see what’s negatively and positively affecting your score.
Can everyone get a free report?
Yes. All consumers, as of December of 2005, are eligible to request their statutory file disclosure once a year.
How often can you make a request?
Each consumer is allowed one free credit report request from each of the three major bureaus once a year.
Alternatively, you can purchase packages, such as the 3-Bureau Credit Report and FICO score, which gives you all three reports plus all three FICO scores. What you get in this package includes instant online acccess to all three reports and scores, comprehensive side-by-side format, and learning about what kind of credit risk you are.
You can also dispute incorrect information online, instead of having to wait on the phone for a representative. However, if you’d rather talk on the phone, Experian has toll-free support available, 7 days a week.
Lots of Copycat Sites
It is true that there are many copycat sites that promise you a free credit report, but many of these sites are unofficial copycat sites.
So yes, you could go to each individual bureau for a report. The thing about this is that if you approach each bureau’s website individually, they make you pay money up front. That is, unless you go through the AnnualCreditReport.com site. It’s the only site designated, and recognized via federal law, for getting your reports free.
So, Why Get A Free Report?
In these days of increased identity theft, it is absolutely essential you send for your free credit reports, because hackers and identity thieves can do serious damage to your score if you’re not careful.
Once you get your reports, make sure you recognize each account on your report and that every bit of information on there is correct, just in case there’s some activity that doesn’t make sense.
Here are some Common warning signs that you might have identity theft problems:
1) Credit card charges you don’t recognize.
2) Calls or letters about things you didn’t purchase.
3) New cards, or statements for accounts you know you didn’t open.
4) Denials of credit for no reason—especially if you’ve had healthy credit up till now.
5) Information on your reports that you don’t recognize, such as addresses or accounts.
Regardless of how well you know your credit rating, sending for your free credit reports once a year is a must for keeping tabs on your credit history, so that you’re not blindsided by identity theft, or to make sure you know you’re a good credit risk to any lender.